European stocks decline after downbeat German data; Dax down 0.20%

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Investing.com - " European stocks were lower on Thursday, after the release of downbeat German economic reports and as the Federal Reserve gave no clear indication on when it plans to scale back its stimulus program.

During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 edged down 0.15%, France's CAC 40 fell 0.21%, while Germany's DAX 30 slipped 0.20%.

Data showed that the Gfk German consumer climate index declined to 7.0 in October, from a reading of 7.1 the previous month, confounding expectations for a rise to 7.2.

A separate report showed that retail sales in Germany fell 0.4% in September, disappointing expectations for a 0.4% rise, after a downwardly revised 0.2% slip in August.

In the U.S., the Fed left its USD85 billion-a-month asset purchase program in place and gave no clear indication whether it would start scaling back stimulus at the December meeting or continue it into the start of 2014.

"The housing sector has slowed somewhat in recent months," the Fed statement said. However, Fed officials stuck to the view that the economy is expanding "at a moderate pace" and said downside risks were diminishing.

Financial stocks were broadly higher, as French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale gained 1.93% and 0.58%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank climbed 0.41%.

Earlier in the day, BNP Paribas reported an unexpected increase in third-quarter net income.

Among peripheral lenders, Spanish banks BBVA and Banco Santander rose 0.17% and 0.46%, while Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit gained 0.86% and 1.06% respectively.

Elsewhere, Air France-KLM declined 0.84% after saying earnings will be at the bottom of its 2014 projected range.

In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 shed 0.39%,weighed by sharp losses in Shell, down 4.21%, after the oil company said third-quarter earnings dropped due to lower refining gains and disruptions in Nigerian output.

Meanwhile, mining stocks were mixed. Rio Tinto added 0.17% and Glencore Xstrata gained 0.44%, while BHP Billiton slipped 0.28% and Fresnillo plunged 3.02%.

In the financial sector, stocks were broadly higher as the Royal Bank of Scotland edged up 0.16% and HSBC Holdings climbed 0.48%, while Lloyds Banking and Barclays advanced 0.50% and 1.01% respectively.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a lower open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.23% fall, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.32% decline, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.48% drop.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release data on initial jobless claims and a report on manufacturing activity in the Chicago region.


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